They also approve fiscal year 2018-19 budget

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved a budget, with amendments, for fiscal year 2018-19, which started this week.

The board added $5.3 million to its initial budget. All of the new funds will be for public-safety agencies. The Probation Department received $1.8 million. In response to District Attorney Michael Hestrin’s request at the June 11 hearing, Executive Officer George Johnson recommended an another $1.5 million for attorney staffing.

Another $2 million was allocated to the Sheriff’s Department specifically for augmenting deputy-patrol staff in the unincorporated areas.

In his report of the recommended additions, Johnson told the board, “The Executive Office supports the Sheriff’s commitment to identify and implement a variety of solutions to increase the number of patrol hours in the unincorporated areas, until hiring catches up to meet the demand.”

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries (1st District) also asked the purpose of the $2 million, ensuring it would be for unincorporated-area staffing.

With the amended funding, the budget for 2018-19 is about $805 million.

Jeffries also raised the question about the contract with consulting firm KPMG. He asked about the contract’s future and whether there would be any unused funds.

Chair Chuck Washington (3rd District) responded that he has discussed this issue with Johnson and expects him to report to the board in July about the contract’s status, successes, funds and future needs.

In other action, a majority approved sending a letter to Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott requesting a reduction of 12 positions within the next four months. County Fire Chief Daniel Talbot said he opposed the staff cut.

The 12 work on payroll, personnel and accounting, services that are crucial to firefighters, he felt. “Without these services, it will be a challenge for us to make payroll on time,” he said.

While Washington agreed with Talbot and opposed the letter, the vote was 3-1 to sign and send it to Cal Fire.